Chelsea left back Marcos Alonso told the English media on Tuesday that he will no longer kneel before matches. The kneeling is in response to George Floyd’s death in May 2020 and since then, all teams across Europe have been taking part on the pitch before matches.
Alonso said he is completely against racism, but believes there are better ways to show it.
“I am totally against racism and any form of discrimination.” Alonso said. “However, I prefer to show it by pointing the finger at the inscription “No to racism” on the jersey, as representatives of other sports do in other countries.”
Alonso continued, saying he doesn’t think the kneeling is accomplishing much any longer.
“And maybe I think it’s losing a bit of strength the other way, so I just prefer to do it this way and to show I am fully supportive of fighting against racism,” Alonso said.
Alonso is not alone, as Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha spoke out earlier this season on why he is no longer kneeling. Zaha, who is black, said he feels it’s dehumanizing to kneel.
“I find falling to my knees before a match humiliating,” Zaha said. “When I was growing up, my parents told me to be proud of being black, no matter what.”
Alonso’s decision has been backed by manager Thomas Tuchel, who said Alonso has the freedom to do what he wants.
“Marcos did not agree with us to change the form of protest against racism and I understand that the very fact of this change has ignited a debate – we do not live in a bubble,” Alonso said. “The most important thing for me is that I know Marcos Alonso and I trust him a thousand percent. He and the entire team are committed to combating all forms of apartheid or other forms of discrimination.”
This is 1,000 percent the right approach from both Alonso and Tuchel. If Alonso feels there’s better ways (and there is) to stand up against racism, he should be able to do so and not be vilified for it. And Tuchel is completely in the right to support his player and not diminish him. Now if only we could see more of that happen in American sports.